Catalyst

The Sun Will Shine Again

We’ve had a beautiful week here in North-west lower Michigan, finally getting some sunshine. Michigan isn’t known for its sunny days, especially in winter and this winter has been very cloudy. I’ve seen some reports saying we haven’t had a full day of sun since November, and it’s been weeks since we’ve really seen the sun at all. This week, the sun came out for several days. We enjoyed walks outside, and a beautiful stary night in January.

It felt strange to be able to walk around outside in January. We often have several feet of snow this time of year, so having bare ground and not needing snowshoes to get around feels odd. It was really nice to be able to spend so much time outside this week though, without worrying about a lot of snow gear, or getting worn out quickly in the deep snow. I don’t know what lies ahead. We will likely get a lot more snow and cold temperatures in the days ahead, and probably a lot of cloudy days too. But eventually, the sun will shine again. There is beauty even in cloudy days, and they will not last forever. The sunshine this week was just what we needed to start off the New Year! A photo dump from this week:

Catalyst:

We originally started this blog back in 2012, transferring from another site to WordPress from another blog I’d started to share our adventures in north-west lower Michigan. For a couple of years, I posted occasionally, and then posts became even rarer as I started working on my first Master’s degree. For a brief time, I started posting again but it wasn’t much at all.

Then, in December of 2020, the accident happened. If you are just now starting to follow this blog, you can read about that here: A Christmas To Remember. It changed everything.

A catalyst is defined as “an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action (Merriam-Webster.com., 2023).

The accident was a catalyst to so many things in our lives, including writing more on this blog. At first, it started as a way for us to update people all at once. Then, slowly, it has started becoming what it was originally meant to be to begin with; a way to share our lives with others and keep track of life. A journal in a sense.

For years, Ben and I had discussed the possibility of me working remotely from home, especially as his health deteriorated. After the accident, that became more of a necessity and a possibility than it ever had before. With Grad school between 2013 and 2020, with only a year break between 2 Masters degrees, there were so many things I stopped doing and had to give up because Grad school and working full time came first.

When the accident happened, I was still trying to figure out how to get so many of those things back, like my writing time, birdwatching, playing piano and guitar, crafting, gardening, and doing so many of the other things I like to do. The accident forced us to rethink things. I’ve always been away of just how short life is, but the accident made me even more aware of it, and left me wanting to do so much more before my time on this earth is done. I was already writing a fair amount, but I wanted to write even more. I was barely going out birdwatching, taking photos, or doing crafts because we just never made the time for it.

The accident, in so many ways, became the catalyst to getting my life back. Not only in the physical sense, but getting back to what truly matters. Slowing down. Taking time to sit out in the sun and read a book, hike through a forest in the middle of winter, and jam a tune on the piano. Taking the time to put together a craft, or play with the dog, blog, or try new things I’ve been wanting to learn. It isn’t that I wasn’t doing those things at all before the accident, but I wasn’t doing them much. The accident made both my husband Ben and I aware of what we were actually taking for granted without even realizing it, and what we needed to change to get to where we wanted to be.

So, we started making those changes. I now work from home. I’m blogging this year more than I have in a long time, and I’m writing pretty close to daily. I’m reading books faster than I have in years and taking the time to enjoy the sunshine on my face, and the cold air in my lungs. Life is too short not to.

When temperatures and system pressure change, they become a catalyst to the weather. Clouds move in or get pushed out, either covering the sun, or making room for it to reappear. Just like the weather, pressure and changes in our own lives, whether negative or positive, lead to change. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. But eventually, long enough into the seasons, the sun makes it way out from behind the clouds again. Difficult days don’t last forever. And sometimes, they become the catalyst that leads us towards days better than anything we could ever imagine.

Until next time,

Cindy

Citations:

“Catalyst.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/catalyst. Accessed 15 Jan. 2023.

What is to Come

As we enter this new season in our lives, where life has slowly returned to “normal,” and yet will never be “normal” again, we begin to find a “new normal.” We are slowly building new routines and finding ways to enjoy the little moments in life, even as different as things are now.

Physical and Occupational Therapy

I’m still trying to do some physical and occupational therapy exercises. In many ways, this is now combined with what would have just been exercise before, but I still struggle with balance some and weakness on my left side. This may always be the case. I can do most of the things I used to do before the accident, I just have to be careful I don’t fall. I also have a hard time still getting up and down off a floor and cannot turn my wrist all the way over, but I’m learning to function as it is. In future posts, I will still update on PT and OT occasionally, but since there is not a lot new each week to update, I will not talk about it every time.

Update on Ben

If you follow us on Social Media, some people questioned one of the photos I shared as a year-end wrap-up, as Facebook doesn’t always show posts exactly as they are shared. The photo was this one, taken just before Ben went in for Cataract surgery in July, and I think some people thought Ben was in the hospital currently. He is not, as this was just a day surgery, but his peripheral neuropathy continues to progress.

If you’ve followed my previous posts, you’ll know that Ben has peripheral neuropathy, with no known cause. He likely has a rare autoimmune disorder, but after many different tests for what it could be, there has been no clear direction or definite results. Ben met with the University of Michigan hospital this week. We found out his previous doctor has passed away and he has a new doctor. The latest doctor is recommending Ben not get a nerve biopsy at this time, as the risks outweigh the benefits right now, and it would likely not give us any results. He is placing Ben on a new medication to try out. Winters are rough for both of us, with increased pain levels.

A Michigan Big Year

One of my goals for this coming year is to do a Michigan Big Year. I hope to see as many birds as I can in the state of Michigan during 2023, with a minimum goal of 10 birds per month, 120 birds total. You can follow those adventures on the Northern Michigan Birding blog. https://northernmichiganbirding.wordpress.com/

Happy Birthday!

This week, we celebrated our basset hound turning a year old. It’s hard to believe she’s already a year old! She’s grown so much and added so much joy and laughter into our lives.

A Hint of What is to Come?

Living in north-west lower Michigan, we seldom see the sunshine in the winter time. Sometimes winter can feel like it drags on forever, with the first snow often falling by October and the last snow sticking around until June many years. But like so many things in life, winter will not last forever. Today, even with the super cloudy skies we’ve had, we saw a hint of blue skies, and hopefully a hint of what is yet to come. We will see the sun again. Just as in life, when seasons are tough and dark, they won’t last forever. One day, perhaps not even all that far away, the sun will peak through the clouds and slowly make its way back around. The earth will warm again, things will begin to grow and change. But for now, everything rests. It prepares itself for what is yet to come, even if what is yet to come seems better than what is now. Winter is not forever, but it is a time to rest and prepare for what may lie ahead.

We may face many trials and difficult times, but it is not the end. It is only a season. This is our winter, our season to rest and prepare for what comes next. As we find ourselves slowly moving out of that season, we look with anticipation and longing for what is yet to come. Winter will not keep its hold forever. One day, we will see sunshine and feel its warmth again. And until that day, we keep on waiting and preparing for whatever that will be.

And With That, the 2022 Season Comes to An End

Two Years Later…

You know in books, or movies when they fast forward in time and have a little line that says “Six months later,” or “1 year older?” That’s almost how it feels now, as though we’ve fast forwarded past the accident. Sure, there are lasting effects, there always will be, but we’ve moved into a season, and with that, new adventures. Time moves on, no matter how much we want it to slow down.

Two years. As I type this, it’s just a few hours away from being 2 years since the accident. As you read this, it already has been two years. I’m starting this post the day before to give myself time to write it. Most of the time, I’m ok. Life has slowly returned to “normal” or at least as close to normal as it will get for us, whatever normal is anyways. And then I have moments when it hits me about what’s happened, what we’ve been through, and I need a little time to regroup and pull myself back together and move forward. But I think that’s all just a part of the process.

Last year, I wrote about the Adventure. You can find that post here, along with a link where I talk about the accident and what happened:

——————————————–What Would Life Be Without Adventure?———————————————

What Would Life Be Without Adventure?

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since that horrific day. It’s a day we will remember for the rest of our lives. We set out on an everyday common adventure. A trip to the store, a trip for Christmas items. It was something we’d done many times before and since. But that day…

———————————————————————————————————————————————-

Sometimes I look at photos of the accident, or photos I took of myself in the hospital, and it feels almost surreal. There were moments when I wondered how I would ever survive, how I pulled through despite everything that happened. But there is a plan and purpose that we don’t always understand.

And now, here we are. Two years later. This year, we wrapped up one season of our lives and moved on to the next. Like any good story though, what happened in previous seasons will always stay with us and sometimes, it may even come back around. This year, I continued recovering from a major accident, returned to teaching and landed a new position that I love ,which allows me to work from home, and we got a new puppy. I completed NaNoWriMo again this year, and wrote quite a bit, all things considered, in a book series I’m working on. On the downside, Ben’s health continued to get worse , he had cataract surgery, and my dad ended up in the hospital for over a week due to an infection. It’s been another roller coaster year. Sometimes it feels like every year is.

We are in a story far greater than anything we could have ever written ourselves. Like every great story, there are ups and downs, there is danger and adventure. Two years ago today our lives changed, in a few seconds time. Nothing will ever really be the same again, but how can it be? We are not the same. Like any well-written story, our lives are no different. We grow. We change. Through the trials , when we keep on keeping on, we become better and stronger, more of who we were meant to be. The 2022 season of our lives wasn’t an easy one, but I’m sure life never really gets easier. We get stronger. We learn how to cope, how to deal better with what’s thrown at us. I know for me at least, my faith has grown stronger as well. I’m not who I was 2 years ago. I will never be that person again. And that’s ok. Somehow I think that’s how it’s meant to be.

Two years ago, we started off on an adventure that should have been happy and fun. It quickly became dangerous, painful and tough. Yet through all of it, we clung to our faith in God and to the promise that there will be a better tomorrow, even if it’s not this side of Heaven. Along this journey, we’ve found we are never alone, and that sometimes what happens to us isn’t about just us. I’ve had people tell me they don’t understand me. They don’t understand how I can still rejoice and be so joyful when so much has happened, so much has been lost. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and I do have tough days, sometimes really tough days, but I try to keep my eyes focused on what lies beyond this life, not just the here and now. That’s what matters most in the end.

As 2022 comes to close, I look back on the past 2 years and try to give myself a moment to realize how far I’ve come, and how much we’ve been through. But I don’t stay there. For there is much to look forward to in the future, and work that still needs to be done. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, I’ll do a post on goals for the coming year, and what we’re focusing on next. I’ll leave you with some photos from 2020, quotes and scripture that have come to mean a lot to me, and photos from this past year. And with that, the 2022 Season comes to an end….

Where did Autumn Go?

It’s crazy how time flies. I keep meaning to write more on the blog, to do another post, and the days just get away from me. It’s not that I’m not doing any writing. I wrote over 50,000 words in November in my series. It’s just that I’m doing other writing and don’t get to any of the blogs I do. I hope to work in blogging again as a habit, so I do it on a regular basis more.

Occupational/Physical Therapy:

OT and PT still consists of what I do on my own. As winter sets in, it has become harder to do a lot of walking or to go out for hikes. Instead, most of my physical activity consists of using our small indoor trampoline, doing chores around the house, using a balance board and stretch bands, and just trying to move as much as I possibly can. We do have a gym membership, but once summer came, I was outdoors so much I barely used it, and getting there in the wintertime can be challenging with the road conditions.

My pain level still varies by day and by the changes in the weather. The cold is rough, having had so many broken bones and some nerve damage. I try to find ways to adapt to it, and bundle up when I need to go out so the pain isn’t so intense, but sometimes there is just no way around it. Sometimes I avoid outside all together if I can, which is one of the perks of working from home now. Sometimes I have to go out , or really want to, and we use hand warmers to help counter the pain. I love the outdoors, so staying inside all winter is difficult, so we try to find a balance between just staying indoors and finding ways to keep the pain at bay outside.

Ben’s Health:

Ben’s neuropathy continues to progress, with no known cause. Almost two years later, we are still waiting on the nerve biopsy that was supposed to happen a few days after the accident occurred. Some days it feels like we are no further closer to answers than we were a few years ago. For now, we just keep on searching for answers and trusting God that there is a plan and a purpose in all of this.

Where did autumn go?

It seems like just yesterday it was the first day of fall. Now, here we are in December, and I haven’t posted anything on this blog since September. Time goes by too quickly. Since my last post, I’ve enjoyed many outdoor trips, including hikes, outdoor tennis, and frisbee golf. Ben and I celebrated 11 years of marriage. Annie enjoyed the first real snowfall of the season, and I successfully made a hike down a steep hill. We’ve enjoyed sunrises, sunsets, and the beauty that Autumm brings all around us.

I’m going to wrap this post up here. It’s almost that time of year when I review goals again, so there should be another post coming very soon. Among my goals for the coming year is to get back into blogging regularly and making a plan to do so. Hopefully I will be posting more into the coming new year.

Until next time,

Cindy

Summer Flew By

The summer has flown by. We are now almost to the end September, and I haven’t posted in quite awhile. I keep meaning to. Many times, I’ve sat down to do a blog post and then been caught up in something else like my other writing projects, or a Facebook page I run, and the next thing I know, there’s just no time left to write in this blog. I’ve even started writing this post, and then come back to it two weeks later.

It’s been a busy summer for Ben and I. I will share some photos, but it’s been so long since I posted last, I could overload the page if I’m not careful. Life has slowly been returning to “normal” and yet it will never be normal again. I guess perhaps it is more of a new normal. I started a new job, teaching from home online, while Ben’s neuropathy continues to get worse. Annie keeps growing and changing as she gets closer to being an adult dog, and our other two dogs have reached their senior years. Summer has felt like a whirlwind.

Physical/Occupational Therapy:

I’ve continued the physical and occupational therapy exercises throughout summer, but haven’t made it out to the gym as much as I wanted to. In the month of August, our puppy and I walked at least a mile every day. I’ve also continued to try to lift heavier things and build back my strength, as well as to do the physical therapy exercises I was taught to. It’s slowly paid off. A couple of weeks ago, I was finally able to lift a 50llb bag of rabbit food into a vehicle by myself. That may not seem like a big deal, but when you’ve lost as much strength as I had, it is.

I have good days and bad days as far as pain goes. When the weather changes, the pain often gets worse. I also had pain loading up the rabbit food in my left wrist, but that may be a life-long thing because of the damage. I tolerate it pretty well most of the time. My left leg continues to get stronger, and I can now lift it pretty high most days. When it rains, sometimes this all goes away and Ben will help me get into bed because it stiffens, and lifting it becomes very difficult. I am hoping that as it gets stronger, this will change. The quad muscle was damaged so much, along with nerves, and it is still weaker than on the right side, but I’m slowly getting it back. I also still have abdominal pain, although that’s gotten significantly better since last year’s surgery. I can always tell when I overdo it though, as the muscles in my core will start to protest.

Ben’s Health:

The peripheral neuropathy that Ben has continues to spread. He is losing more feeling in his fingers and hands, as well as developing the same nerve pain that he has in his feet. We are hoping a nerve biopsy will be scheduled soon to try to determine what is causing it. He had cataract surgery in July, which has made a big difference in his vision. He was able to do the Farmer’s Market for most of the summer, but fall has been rough so far.

Summer Flew By!

Summer went by so fast! As I write this, fall has officially arrived. The leaves are changing, birds are migrating, and the nights are getting cooler. We’ve had a lot of rainy weather the last couple of days, and even turned on the furnace briefly.

We’ve enjoyed lots of blooms, especially from our native plants. I went to the rodeo with one of our nieces and one of our nephews. We got to meet a couple of authors at the AuSable Canoe Marathon, and enjoyed time outside. I’ll share a few photos below. Summer went by too fast, but I’ve always enjoyed the different seasons and am looking forward to the cooler weather and more rainy days. I’m counting the days until the first snowfall, as I always enjoy watching it come down. And yes, here in north-west lower Michigan, we often get snow in the fall.

Songs on Repeat:

Do It Again- Elevation Worship

It’s Going Down- KJ-52

  • I’ll Find You-Lecrae

If You Want Love- NF

Scripture and Quotes:

Now that I have returned to teaching, and summer is winding down, I hope to get back into blogging again on a regular basis. Until next time,

-Cindy

Every Season Serves a Purpose

Sometimes it feels like time just flies by, and before you know it, it’s been over two months since I last posted anything. Time goes by too fast. We’ve been busy, and we’ve had a lot going on. This will be a longer than normal blog post, I suspect.

I’m not even really sure where to begin. I’ve started this blog post over and over again, but life gets in the way, and I haven’t published anything until now.

Physical/Occupational Therapy/ Medical Updates For Me (Cindy)

I’ve continued the PT and OT exercises I learned during my time in rehab. Sometimes it’s meant going to the gym to do them, other times going for a hike or trying to do everyday activities such as gardening and laundry. We’ve had a lot of medical appointments over the past couple of months too.

I’m not even sure how much I’ve mentioned it to anyone, but during the scans completed after the accident, the doctors found white spots on my brain. After waiting to get into a neurologist, and further testing, it is believed the spots were caused by a stroke many years ago, possibly even as an infant. So I’ve had more tests to confirm this, as well as to assess my risk for another stroke. I meet with the neurologist again in July and will hopefully know more then. So far, everything is looking pretty good, and we are hoping it will stay that way. But life has a way of throwing you a curve, so at the same time, we’re bracing ourselves for that possibility too.

Physically, I’m doing better and better each week. I’m able to move more, I’m not as sore as I was, and I’m gaining strength back. I still have days when I’m pretty weak on the left side, and I’ve been having a lot of nerve pain as things reconnect but am making good progress. Being on my feet for very long is painful, walking hurts if I walk for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, and my left wrist sometimes locks which is painful. I still have to be careful with all of the internal damage and nerve damage from the trauma. I may never regain full function of my left wrist, or the feeling in my left thigh, but I’ve come a long way. Most people would never know I was in a serious auto accident.

Ben’s Health Update:

Ben’s peripheral neuropathy continues to get worse. It is spreading into his hands and fingers, making it harder for him to grip things and open jars. The nerve pain, especially in his feet and legs, gets pretty intense at times. Basically, the nerves in his limbs are dying, but are going haywire in the meantime. So he doesn’t always feel when he steps on something, or grabs something sharp, but other times he gets super sharp nerve pain when he’s not doing anything at all.

We also recently found out he has a cataract. This is unusual for someone his age, and the doctors are not sure why he’s developed one, but his vision is pretty bad right now. He will be having surgery next month to repair it. It may be yet another symptom of whatever is going on with his body. We continue to pray for answers and seek out doctors who can help. We’ve tried a lot of things over the years, including natural remedies and elimination diets, but nothing has helped so far. In fact, some of the things have made it worse. We trust in all of this though that God has a plan beyond what we can understand.

Bring on Summer!

Summer is such a busy time of year for us. With a little help, I was able to get a garden in this year using buckets for containers and a couple of patches on the ground. I can’t wait to see what comes in for harvest this year!

I’ve started driving a little more again. I was driving again last summer, but after surgery in November, wasn’t able to for a while. As the warmer weather arrived and my body had time to recover more from the November surgery and infection in February, I was able to start driving again. It’s felt really good to get out and enjoy nature! I’ve been trying to stop between appointments to lakes and nature places, and on the rare day off, we intentionally schedule time to go too.

A few photos from the outdoor places and our garden:

Our puppy Annie is getting so big! She loves the outdoors and makes us laugh every day. We also had three baby rabbits born this summer, and introduced them to her. She LOVES the rabbits just as much as our older two dogs. A few photos of her adventures with us:

Songs on Repeat:

One Year Ago-KJ52

The Blessing- Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes

Goodness of God-Bethel Music

I’m Sorry- TobyMac

Give Me Your Eyes- Brandon Heath

Scripture and Quotes

Every Season Serves a Purpose

Life is full of ups and downs. For us, the past few years especially have been full of challenges and difficult times. Yet as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there is joy even in the midst of the trials. We don’t know where this road is headed next. We don’t know where we’ll be a year from now, or if we’ll have any more answers than we do now.

What we do know is that there is a God in Heaven who has been with us every step of the way, and continues to be even now. What we do know is that He’s given us each other, and even when the road seems long and difficult, there is a plan and purpose beyond what we can comprehend. Every season serves a purpose.

This season we are in may seem long and sometimes never ending, but in the end, it is only a season. It will pass, like all the others before it. To quote Psalm 27:13:

“I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

Psalm 27:13, NRSV

Times may be tough, the season may be rough, but God is still good, and there is a plan and a purpose even for a season such as this.

Until next time,

Cindy

Aslan is On The Move

Physical and Occupational Therapy

It’s been over a month since I posted last. I feel like that’s kind of become routine. I’m hoping to build a better routine for blogging, but it seems like every time I start to build one, something else happens and it throws everything off.

Since I blogged last, I’ve been trying to get to the gym for physical therapy exercises and have done them at home quite a bit too. We ended up with a couple of ice storms this past month, both on days I had scheduled time open to go to the gym, so we’ve gone a little less than I would like to, but the weather should be getting warmer sooner. At home, we have a trampoline, balance board, balance ball, dumbbell weights, an exercise ball, mat, stretch bands, and a few other things so it’s better than nothing, but I prefer the gym. What we have still allows me to get in some physical therapy though. As the snow clears, I’ve been able to get out for walks more too. It’s felt so good to get out!

I still have some soreness from the November surgery, but it is slowly getting better. The infection I had in February seems to have healed up nicely, and we are watching closely in case anything tries to come back anytime soon.

As far as occupational therapy, I keep doing things around the house as much as I can to work my wrists and hands. Annie, our new puppy, helps a lot with that too. She loves to play tug of war and gets my wrist moving in a lot of different ways. We started seeing a new chiropractor as well, someone closer to where we live. She specializes in sports medicine and does physical therapy in addition to chiropractic. I’m noticing more movement in my wrist and less pain in the hip, so hopefully we will continue to see improvement.

Puppy Fun

Annie is getting so big! We are enjoying every moment with her. She LOVES being outside with me, and loves to play with Ben, myself, and our other two dogs. Her favorite toys are pull-ropes and stuffed animals. So far, she hasn’t been very destructive with toys though. She just plays with them and moves on to the next one. We are very thankful to have her in our lives! We’ve been tracking her growth week to week, and I’ve included some photos.

Songs on Repeat

KJ-52- One Year Ago

Grits-My Life Be Like

Start Over- Flame featuring NF

Scripture and Quotes:

Aslan Is On The Move

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight, At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more. When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, and when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”

C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia has been one of my favorite series since I was a child. I shared a couple of quotes above, and I think about them often, especially this time of year.

Living in the snowbelt of Northern Lower Michigan, it’s not uncommon for us to have snow until at least May, or even into June. Some of the “old timers” who have lived in the area a long time, will tell you they’ve seen snow pretty much every month of the year. So by the time we get to this part of the year, we are all ready for spring to come, yet it seems so far off.

I think often of Narnia. If you’ve never read the series, there is a witch who makes it always winter but never Christmas, and spring never comes. When the lion in the story, Aslan, begins to move, winter can no longer take its hold. It has to leave. The lion is more powerful than the witch.

For Ben and I, the last few years especially have sometimes felt like an endless winter. Sometimes it seems like difficult things keep happening. It’s like a cold, frozen, dark season that goes on forever and ever.

And yet, we know the Lion moves. In our Christian faith, the Lion in The Chronicles of Narnia is often viewed as being an allegory for Jesus. As Romans 8:28 so beautifully states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Times may be tough, but it will not last forever. Spring will come. Better times will come. Even with all the difficulties we face, we know there is a reason and a purpose, and that better things lay ahead.

Today, looking out the window, we can see the sunshine. Tomorrow, it is supposed to snow. But we know it won’t last forever. Aslan is on the move! Winter cannot keep its hold on us, and eventually, we will get through the tough times of winter and move into a new season. Until then, we have each other, and our faith grows stronger in the trials. And soon, perhaps very soon, spring will finally arrive.

Happy Easter!

Until next time,

Cindy

A Little Joy

Physical/Occupational Therapy and Recovery

It is hard to believe it’s been almost a month since I was in the hospital again. You can read a little about it here: https://talesfromnorthcountry.com/2022/02/14/its-not-always-about-us/. I ended up spending five days in the hospital. They found I had cellulitis, caused by a staph infection in my thigh and near my hip. We were afraid it had gone into the hip joint, and that I could be septic, but thankfully we caught it in time. After a lot of tests and nearly a week in the hospital with IV antibiotics, I was released with antibiotics to recover at home.

The infection has been slowly healing. I still have some soreness, discoloration, and a lot of itching, but that has been slowly getting better as well. I haven’t done a lot for physical therapy over the past few weeks as the leg heals but have tried to do a few at home as long as the pain is tolerable.

Occupational therapy continues to be everyday tasks at home. With the infection, I was pretty sick at first, but have been able to do a little bit more as I start to get better and stronger again. I still have some soreness from the November surgery, but it has gotten a lot better than it was. All of the trauma and surgeries have taken a toll on my body, and I’m just run down. 7 surgeries, at least 11 broken bones, and internal damage is a lot to recover from.

Songs on Repeat

Goodness of God by Bethel

House of the Lord by Phil Wickham

Here I am To Worship by Hillsong

Scripture and Quotes

A Little Joy

Towards the end of February, we added a new addition to our family. Meet Annie. She is a basset hound puppy. Her name means “grace” or “God has favored me.”

Almost two years ago, I graduated with my second Master’s degree in the midst of the Covid Pandemic. The one thing I really wanted as a gift was a puppy. We searched shelters and many different sites, trying to find one, but people were grabbing up puppies as fast as they arrived. Both of our other dogs are rescues, and they were a little older when we got them. Still in the puppy stage, but halfway through it, so we wanted a younger dog this time around.

Then the accident happened, and everything got put off. After almost a year and a half of searching and waiting, we finally were able to find someone who had puppies. We went on the waiting list, and were finally able to get a puppy in February.

Annie has brought a lot of joy into our lives in the couple of weeks we’ve had her. A few photos…

Life is full of ups and downs, and she’s added lots of laughter and happiness during some very difficult times in our lives. Before the November surgery, I was hiking regularly and getting stronger with physical therapy. Since the surgery, it has been a long recovery. My body is just worn down, and I’ve only been out snowshoeing once all winter, before the infection and hospital stay.

I am hoping as my body begins to recover more, I will be able to take Annie and our two other dogs out for hikes. Not all at once of course, unless I have someone else with me willing to take a dog, but it will be good to get out again. I’ve missed it! I am hoping with surgery behind me, and the infection healing, I will finally be able to get back to getting stronger and feeling better again. It’s been a long journey! I’m so very thankful for the little joys in life, like sweet puppy snuggles, the kind words of a friend through a card, and beautiful sunrises despite the winter cold. Life moves forward, even in difficult times, and finding the little pieces of joy, no matter how small, makes the dark times a little easier.

It’s Not Always About Us

Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and other updates….

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. As I’ve slowly recovered from surgery in November and getting sick in January, I’ve started doing physical therapy exercises more consistently. Ben and I also signed up for a Gym membership. I’m hoping to regain the strength I lost on my left side after surgery in November. I also have a great workout buddy!

I’ve also continued to do everyday things around the house, such as laundry and dishes. Thanks to the help of one of our nephews and one of our nieces, I’ve even been able to get some cleaning and organizing done. I’m really trying to get back to a regular chair, instead of a recliner most of the time. I was getting there in November, but the last surgery took a lot out of me.

Our niece and nephew also went out snowshoeing with me. I knew it wasn’t safe to go alone, so they went with me. My hip was hurting a lot by the time we finished, and it took us over an hour and a half to go less than a mile. We used hand warmers to keep my hip and wrist from being to cold. My pain increases a lot when they get cold. We had to take breaks a lot, but it felt really good to get out.

As I write this, I’m actually in the emergency room. Last night, I developed a fever and wasn’t feeling well. I figured I was catching something. This morning, I woke up to a red hip and thigh. The skin is hot to the touch and very painful and itchy.

After a lot of tests, they believe I have an infection. As soon as they have a bed open, I’m getting transferred to Traverse City with more tests to come tomorrow. They plan to do a hip aspiration to find out more about the infection and go from there. Sometimes it seems this journey doesn’t end.

Scripture and quotes:

Songs on Repeat

Goodness Of God, by Bethel Music

Believer, by Imagine Dragons

Help is On The Way, by TobyMac

It’s Not Always About Us

If there is anything I’ve learned along this journey, it’s that it’s not always about us. Things that happen to us, difficult things we go through, problems we face. They aren’t just about us

Sometimes what happens to us are really opportunities to make someone else’s life better. Maybe through a smile at a nurse whose had a rough day, or a prayer for the person in another room who is obviously suffering. There is a bigger plan than just us and what happens to us. We never know the impact we have on someone else.

Going through difficult things can actually have a positive influence on someone else. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. We never know whose life is going to be better because of our hard times, because of how we respond and how we react to challenges. Difficult times are a part of life, but they don’t have to break us. Instead, we can use them to hopefully inspire others and make someone else’s life at least a little better.

Life isn’t about us. It’s about so much more. When we look for opportunities to help others and make their day just a little brighter, no matter how bad our day is, we can give others hope and inspiration.

If you’re facing tough times, it may not be about you. It may be about the opportunity to inspire and bless people you encounter on your journey. Look for those opportunities.

Until next time,
Cindy

When Life Gives You Lemons

Physical/Occupational Therapy and General Update

January has been a very off month. I was planning to start back up with physical therapy exercises, and even had an appointment scheduled to tour a gym, but then got sick. Ben was sick over Christmas and New Year’s, and then I came down with whatever he had near the beginning of January. So, the gym tour had to be postponed. I love the hospital gym I went to before surgery, after outpatient physical therapy, but scheduling with their classes and everything else we had going on was becoming difficult. Instead, Ben and I decided to do a gym membership so we could go together and have a more flexible schedule. Between a long recovery from surgery, and then getting sick, I’ve lost a fair amount of strength. I think my body is just run down.

A few days after I got sick, Ben became ill again. It’s been a long month with both of us slowly recovering. I am hoping to schedule a gym tour soon and get a membership so I can get back at independent PT and strengthening my left side. In the meantime, I’ve been doing the physical therapy exercises at home that I learned during my time in in-home and outpatient physical therapy.

Occupational therapy continues to be mostly everyday tasks. With Ben being sick, I’ve been doing more of the cooking. I’ve never been much of a cook, but I’m learning to make a few things that are pretty good. One of our dogs used to sit and whine whenever I would attempt to cook because it never turned out well, but he’s starting to accept that I can cook a little. Sometimes I think he’s even looking forward to my cooking. 🙂 A few of the things I’ve made… Taco salad, fried chicken breast, Tator tot casserole.

Our Catahoula, letting me know he’s ready to eat and is looking forward to me cooking. We make our dogs food because of his allergies.

I am noticing a big difference outside this year. The pain in my left wrist especially, which has two metal plates, gets pretty intense. The colder the weather is, the worst the pain. My hip and ankle sometimes get annoyed with the cold too, but are easier to protect than my wrist, especially if I want to do anything with my hands outside. I am hoping handwarmers will help with this some at least.

Snowbelt Living

Living in the snowbelt of northwest lower Michigan, we tend to get a fair amount of snow. This year, we’ve had less than normal but got hit pretty hard over the last few days. I’ve been trying to take short walks around our yard. Walking in the snow isn’t easy for me, but I’m sure it will get easier with time. Like I said, I lost quite a bit of strength after the last surgery and am hoping to get it back. I do have snowshoes and want to try snowshoeing again soon, but it’s been so cold, and my body just doesn’t tolerate the cold temperatures well anymore.

Both of our dogs love the snow, especially our Catahoula. It can be pretty much a blizzard and he wants to go outside at least for a little bit. I’ve shared a photo of him enjoying some of the recent snow we had.

Songs on Repeat

Love Feels Like- TobyMac, Michael Tait, Kevin Max

Hurt -Johnny Cash

Ring of Fire- Johnny Cash

Keep Your Head Up- Andy Grammer

Quotes and Scripture From This Month:

When Life Gives You Lemons

This past year hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park. Between the car accident, deaths in the family, sickness, appliances breaking, and just life in general, things have been hard at times. The saying “When life gives you lemon, make lemonade” comes to mind in all of this. It’s a way of finding the positive, even in the really difficult times. A way of sweetening something that should be sour.

This isn’t always easy. But finding the sweet in the sour makes things a little more bearable at least. We’ve had a lot of lemons this past year. Yet there continue to be sweet moments too. Like the beautiful sunsets against the snow, or the chickadees coming to our birdfeeders to eat, or the extra time we’ve had to rest and recuperate because we both ended up sick.

For both Ben and I, our faith helps a lot with this. Knowing that even in the worst of times, God has a plan and a purpose for it all. Even before the accident, I would often try to find things I was grateful for. It helps put things into perspective and makes the difficult seem just a little less so. Life is full of lemons. But we don’t have to focus on that. We can choose instead to focus on the sweetness, and make lemonade.

Until next time,

Cindy

Photo by DESIGNbyJA on Pexels.com